Ruby Slipper Rescue! Smithsonian Launches Kickstarter to Help Restore, Conserve Famed Shoes

Smithsonian crowdfunds to raise $300,000 for ruby slipper restoration

What to Know

  • The Smithsonian Institute has launched a campaign to raise $300,000 for the restoration and preservation of the iconic ruby slippers.
  • The ruby slippers, which were made famous by Judy Garland in the film The Wizard of Oz, are now in their eighth decade.
  • The project rests in the hands of campaign supporters since restorations such as these are not federally funded.

The 80-year-old Hollywood relics that remind us "there's no place like home" are showing their age.

The Smithsonian Institution launched a Kickstarter funsraising campaign to help raise $300,000 to restore the iconic shoes on display in the National Museum of American History, made famous by Judy Garland's character, Dorothy, in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz."

Movie props generally aren't made to last past the end of filming, the Smithsonian's Kickstarter says. Now the red shoes are fading, and some of the threads holding the once-glittering sequins have broken.

Urging donors to #KeepThemRuby, the campaign page explains that the money raised will be used not just to restore the ruby slippers, but also to protect them from future environmental harm. They'll be conserved in a state-of-the-art display case to slow deterioration.

While the Smithsonian is federally funded, federal appropriations provide funding only for the Smithsonian's operating budget and to "support core functions, such as building operations and maintenance, and safeguarding the collection," according to the Kickstarter page.

The Kickstarter will be live for just 30 days. The deadline is in place to ensure the slippers will be ready to be displayed in the new multimedia exhibition titled "On With the Show" in 2018, according to the site.

This isn't the first time the Smithsonian has reached out for help. In 2015, they crowdfunded to help preserve the spacesuits of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard.

Contact Us